The anonymous audience is a revenue anchor that pulls down business performance for media publishers. A behavioral analysis of fly-by visitors highlights just how much of a drag they are on the revenue model.
A robust revenue model creates multiple streams of revenue from an audience member. The revenue potential of an audience member is defined by both the engagement behavior with media (i.e., advertising revenue) and the purchase behavior for events, daily deals, commerce, or subscriptions (i.e., direct revenue). To quantify the revenue drag of the anonymous audience, Scout Research analyzed the revenue potential of an anonymous visitor compared to a registered visitor at every level of loyalty (i.e., fly-bys, occasionals, regulars, and fans).
The infographic to the right illustrates the results from the analysis of anonymous fly-bys compared to registered fly-bys within an audience. For the analysis, fly-by was defined as a visitor that visited the site no more than once every two months. The analysis looked at six months worth of audience activity on a media website.
The first notable difference between anonymous and registered fly-bys is that registered fly-bys generate 7.5 times more page views than anonymous fly-bys. In other words, registered fly-bys have 7.5 times more revenue potential for the display advertising on the site. Whereas less than 1% of registered fly-bys looked at only one page, approximately 70% of anonymous fly-bys view just one page and then leave. As a side note, the one page view propensity of anonymous fly-bys points out the limited value of SEO.
The next notable difference is e-mail. Registered fly-bys are more engaged primarily because they return to the site in response to an e-mail. Over 60% of registered fly-bys viewed somewhere between four and nineteen pages. In addition to revenue from increased page views, the publisher can earn revenue from advertising in the 26 e-mails that were delivered during the six months of recorded activity, compared with no revenue for anonymous fly-bys. The combination of engagement behavior and e-mail distribution makes a registered fly-by 20 times more valuable than an anonymous fly-by.
The final notable difference is enablement of other revenue streams. With an e-mail address, the publisher can promote events, daily deals, e-commerce, and subscriptions. In fact, the analysis showed that fly-bys generated more conference registrations compared to all other levels of loyalty. Interestingly, no-shows, formerly active audience members, also purchased conference registrations.
The anonymous audience is a severe drag on a publisher’s revenue model. They are an anchor holding back the development of audience engagement and expansion of revenue streams. Consequently, publishers should be developing more aggressive strategies to convert anonymous visitors into registered ones.